John J. Bonner papers, 1909-1945 (MC 49)

Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1926-1945, John J. Bonner is credited with establishing the Philadelphia Catholic League and was one of the best-known Catholic educators in the country.

Born in Philadelphia on November 2, 1890, John Bonner entered St. Charles Seminary after graduating from Roman Catholic High School. He transferred to the North American College in Rome, and was ordained there in June 1917.

Upon his return to the United States, he was appointed assistant rector of St. Bridget’s Church (1917-18), left this post to serve as a U.S. Army chaplain (1918-19), and after his discharge from the army, was appointed vice rector of Roman Catholic High. Between 1923 and 1926, he served at St. Bernard’s in Easton, PA, and taught at Immaculata College.

In 1926, Bonner was appointed Superintendent of Schools for the Philadelphia Archdiocese and remained in the position until his death on November 17, 1945. During his tenure as Superintendent, Bonner earned a nationwide reputation as an educator, orator, and administrator.

The documents in this collection consist mainly of correspondence, sermons, speeches, and prayers that Bonner amassed during his career as Superintendent.

6 boxes, 3.4 linear ft.

Joseph M. Corrigan papers, 1896-1942 (MC 25)

A prominent orator and preacher, Bishop Joseph M. Corrigan, D.D. served as the sixth rector of the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. from 1936 until his sudden death in June 1942. He was also rector of and a professor at St. Charles Seminary (Wynnewood, Pa.) from 1918 to 1936.

After his ordination in Rome in 1903, Corrigan returned to Philadelphia where he played a very active role in the city’s religious and social affairs. He served as assistant pastor in several parishes, and for several years was in charge of the Madonna House and settlement work among Italians. Following his parish work, Corrigan was named Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities and was placed in charge of the Catholic Children’s Bureau.

Corrigan was also a member of the board of directors of the Community Council of Philadelphia (the Welfare Federation). He served as state chaplain of the Pennsylvania State Council of the Knights of Columbus, and was also a judge of the matrimonial court and moderator of the priests’ vigilance committee. Corrigan also served as the first retreat master of the Philadelphia Laymen’s Weekend Retreat League, also known as the Men of Malvern.

The same year that he became rector of St. Charles, Corrigan was made a domestic prelate by Pope Pius XI. His elevation to the episcopacy came in 1940.

This collection contains correspondence as well as some of Corrigan’s sermons, speeches, and radio addresses, and a few photographs. Much of the collection includes ephemera, specifically newspaper clippings, relating to Corrigan’s endeavors and achievements, which are contained in several personal scrapbooks. Also included are materials concerning Catholic University, including a notebook documenting Corrigan’s schedule during his time as rector as well as some items relating to Corrigan’s involvement with the Knights of Columbus. Items relating to Corrigan’s death, such as sympathy letters to his sister and newspaper clippings, are also included. [3 boxes, 3 scrapbooks, 2.6 linear ft.]

Walter George Smith papers, 1836-1933 (MC 47)

Walter George Smith (1854-1924) was a prominent Philadelphia attorney. A devout Catholic, Smith worked and lectured extensively for the anti-divorce cause. Among other activities, he was involved in advancing the causes of uniform state laws, was an appointed member of the Board of Indian Commissioners, a Manager of the Drexel Institute, and President of the American Bar Association.

The collection contains correspondence, including family correspondence; diaries, journals and travel logs; speeches, addresses, published and unpublished writings. Scrapbooks, memorabilia, and obituaries are also included.

A significant portion of the materials concern Smith’s resignation as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania- a position he had held for 18 years- which made national headlines. Smith left in 1909 due to his opposition of the appointment of Dr. J.P. Lichtenberger as an associate professor at the Wharton School. Among other things, Smith was vehemently opposed to Lichtenberger’s stance on divorce.

While Walter Smith’s writings and papers make up the majority of the collection, there is also material relating to other Smith family members, including his sister, Helen Grace Smith, and Thomas Kilby Smith.

2.8 linear feet ; 7 boxes

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